Researchers at King’s College in the UK have made a stimulating discovery…and it’s not stimulating in a good way. They found cocaine, other illicit drugs, and pesticides in UK river wildlife…including shrimp.
“The presence of cocaine isn’t the shrimp’s fault,” according to their study.
According to a press release, “the study published today in Environment International, looked at the exposure of wildlife, such as the freshwater shrimp Gammarus pulex, to different micropollutants (chemicals found at exceptionally low levels) and the levels of these compounds in the animals. “
The study says medicines, drugs and other chemicals end up in rivers after use, that thousands of chemicals end up in waterways saying, “surprisingly, cocaine was found in all samples tested, and other illicit drugs such as ketamine, pesticides and pharmaceuticals were also widespread in the shrimp that were collected.” Researchers say the concentrations were low, but still a concern.
It’s unclear however if this is is just a local problem for that area or a global problem. Researchers would not suggest that the problem would necessarily extent do places like the U.S. Gulf Coast. Professor Nic Bury from the University of Suffolk said: “Whether the presence of cocaine in aquatic animals is an issue for Suffolk, or more widespread an occurrence in the UK and abroad, awaits further research. Environmental health has attracted much attention from the public due to challenges associated with climate change and microplastic pollution. However, the impact of ‘invisible’ chemical pollution (such as drugs) on wildlife health needs more focus in the UK as policy can often be informed by studies such as these.”